My Dog Is Better Than Your Dog

May 10, 2012
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It is a well known fact that people have always had a profound fascination of dogs and their ancestry, specific breed qualities, and overall disposition ever since the dog became a necessary part of human life. At first, the dog was used for hunting and killing their masters’ next meal; or retrieving the fallen game their person shot down from the sky. Then one day, everything seemed to change when one man said to the other, “My dog’s much better than yours.” From then on, the dog show world was born. Dog shows have very much evolved from the basic rivalry among friends to a stronger need to win and to win big. Many have certainly heard of the Westminster Dog Show in the prestigious Madison Square Garden, but some may not know the real history of how it came to be so important. Though you may have heard about Westminster, do you know about another dog show located in Birmingham England? This show is called the Crufts Dog Show; the biggest and grandest show in its history.

In the early years of the dog show world, handlers couldn’t tell which dogs were better because of a hazy understanding as to the breed standard. As an example, owners couldn’t tell the difference between Irish Setters (deep red color) to the English setters (colored spots); they simply thought they were pretty much the same type of dog. These mistakes caused the dogs to be in assorted classes with completely different breeds. This confusion changed when a committee of people came together and set up a book of what specific breeds should look like and how they should be presented. Thankfully, the correct breeding and showing took place because of this ‘Book of Standards’; without it, the dog show realm would still be confused as to who really is the Best of Breed.
As dog shows became more and more popular, new things were happening. There was more specialized doggy events throughout the world and new publicity of what these dogs and handlers could do spread like a doggie plague all over an already very diverse world. Also, there were new activities invented for the more active canine. The most popular are agility and obedience. Agility is where dogs are tested for their speed, stamina, and overall ability to carry out their human’s commands; whether it meant flying over a jump or racing through a tunnel, these dogs always took command of the show rings. Next, there was the obedience contest that was invented to answer the question of who has the smarter, most obedient dog. Obedience rallies test dogs’ brain power and loyalty towards their owners. There are also so many other fun challenges for dogs such as, tracking, nose work or scent discrimination, rally, lure coursing, hunting trails for the sporting dogs; the list is endless for every kind of dog known to man.

What do you think of when someone was to say the word ‘Dog Show’? Do you think of prissy little toy poodles prancing around a ring? Or of the huge Great Dane that trots around the ring on long, muscular legs, with proud head showing the lamb hiding in a wolf’s body? How about the dog version of the super bowl? The crème de la crème of purebred dogs from all walks of life. That’s right, the Westminster Dog Show. This legendary show was established in 1877 and is to this day, a symbol of pure bred dogs everywhere. Families everywhere plan their nights around this show to crowd around the TV every second Monday and Tuesday of February to root for their favorite breeds. The start of this auspicious kennel club did of course have to begin somewhere. In the mid- 1870s, a group of men who met regularly in a bar after their long days of hunting decided to form a club for showing off dogs to others. They called it the Westminster Breeding Association (WBA) after their favorite hotel. The WBA began its very own show in 1877, but what was unique about this show is that it’s benched. A benched show means the dogs need to stay at the show from the very beginning to the ending; the only time they can leave is to go to their rings for show time. They use bench shows because spectators like to see the different breeds of dogs and so they don’t miss any of the action taking place. To this day, the only known bench shows are Westminster and Philadelphia Kennel Clubs. Westminster Dog Show will always have a special effect on the people participating in it, or watching it themselves.

Though you may think the Westminster Show is the biggest show in the dog world, then you may be mistaken. There is still one other show you’re overlooking. This one is located in Birmingham, London since 1891 when their first show began. This show is called the Crufts Dog Show. In the beginning, a man named Charles Cruft left college with absolutely no intention of continuing in the family jewelry business. Instead, he got a job with James Spratt selling “dog cakes” in Holborn, London. This job sent him through many promotions because of Cruft’s ambitious personality. Soon he became a traveling salesman, which took him through many dog related missions. Eventually, Charles became infatuated with French bulldog breeding and other dog breeds when he decided to set up his own kennel club and dog show. Thus, the Crufts Dog Show was born. Crufts is one of the largest dog events in the world because this show holds people from all around the world with their dogs from other countries as well. The difference between Westminster and Crufts is not just in the location, but in the health aspect. The Crufts judges are trained to make sure the dogs are at their peak of health and only the healthiest dogs will win. The winners must pass a veterinary exam following their win.

To conclude, the quote that started a whole new sport was just seven simple words- “My dog is better than yours.” This started thousands of kennel clubs around the world and two of the most monumental being the Westminster and Crufts Shows. Seven words created so many new competitions for dogs to freely compete in and win for their proud owners, breeders, and handlers. The quote, “My dog is better than yours” changed, and will change everything in the dog world forever.





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